Marijuana Abusers Are at Increased Risk for Stroke

Preliminary Evidence from Cerebrovascular Perfusion Data

Authors

  • RONALD I. HERNING,

    Corresponding author
    1. Molecular Neuropsychiatry Section, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.
      Address for correspondence: Dr. Ronald I. Herning, Molecular Neuropsychiatry Section, NIDA/IRP, P.O. Box 5180, Baltimore, MD 21224, U.S.A. Voice: 410–550–1551; rherning@intra.nida.nih.gov.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • WARREN E. BETTER,

    1. Molecular Neuropsychiatry Section, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • KIMBERLY TATE,

    1. Molecular Neuropsychiatry Section, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • JEAN L. CADET

    1. Molecular Neuropsychiatry Section, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.
    Search for more papers by this author

Address for correspondence: Dr. Ronald I. Herning, Molecular Neuropsychiatry Section, NIDA/IRP, P.O. Box 5180, Baltimore, MD 21224, U.S.A. Voice: 410–550–1551; rherning@intra.nida.nih.gov.

Abstract

Abstract: We have recorded blood flow velocity in the anterior and middle cerebral arteries by transcranial Doppler sonography in abstinent marijuana abusers (n= 16) and control subjects (n= 19) to assess the effects of prolonged marijuana use of the cerebrovascular system. The pulsatility index, a measure of cerebrovascular resistance, and systolic velocity were significantly (p < 0.005) increased in marijuana abusers compared to the control subjects. These findings suggest that cerebral perfusion observed in 18–30 year old marijuana abusers is comparable to that of normal 60 year-olds. Thus, chronic abuse of marijuana might be a risk factor for stroke.

Ancillary